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Increase Publico’s Patrimony Draught
Act 3: Doris Synchronus, Unbranded Slave of the Censor
© 2023 James LaFond
Night, Ascentday, First Day of Sepulcher
To speak was, some instinct within had ever instructed her from her beginning, to be at once unheard and undone. A curious childhood never obstructed with her own verbal interruptions, never even by a whispered question, had confirmed her babyhood held suspicion that talking was a trap by way a soul was devoured by this evil world of Edom. [1]
Yes, the reading of books, hymns, gospels, scriptures, and the listening of young ears to a play of Sophocles, these endowed the reader with True Sight. But let that reader speak any portion, however so honestly and innocently worded, of the Universal Truth and he was devoured by the world, his wise oratory alike to the caw of a bird caught in a trap awaiting the trapper’s bird-braining stick.
A song was begun so easily, so effortlessly, at the touch of her dear brother’s forefinger and a whispered request, “Dear Sister, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden,” or “Ulysses beyond the Pillars of Hercules,” or “Samson and Delilah, sister…” Such suggestions, in reality commands from their kind Master filtered through the agreeable form and malleable mind of her twin brother, merely unleashed her nature, a nature expressed in song with such tragic gravity that her fear of speaking was thence veiled in sound. Her voice could imitate the organ, the fifes, the fiddles and lyres of various timbres—never the drums; never ever the drums and symbols of discord!
Gypsies with brass finger symbols and rattles, ensigns with martial drums, soldiers stamping their hard shod feet, at one performance or another, when she was directed to provide the elemental sounds of angels, demons, God Almighty and the sorrows of mankind, were at her Master’s disposal. Her cue given with such tender touch, Orpheus then conducted a one-man play, commanding the instrumentalists with a pointed finger or note sign, even a pointed toe extended at the terminus of his sprite-like leg.
This tune, this sound of winds, of hunger for knowledge, the slither song of tempting illumination, of lost nakedness, the torrents of Wroth Right suffusing the whimperings of beggardly wrong, this song caused her unbranded shoulder and unbranded neck to burn—for she knew, knew in her infancy, that her Fate was not just to be bought by the Kind, but to be sold to the cruel, to be branded upon her dainty shoulder and thence to run and be branded upon her storied neck.
She knew all of this.
Only Orpheus knew that she held predictive, prophetic lore within her unspoken mind. His gift for mime, their gift of unity in synchronicity, permitted her to impart the surety that she knew their future, that The Fates were now angels and came to her in her silence with the Word of God.
The nuns knew and adored her, sensed her communion on sight and had to force themselves not to kneel and bring charges of heresy upon she and them.
Brother knew, that she must never speak, and must never lie under a man, lest their gift be shattered.
This their Master knew on kindest instinct.
Through evil hands they had been delivered by the Shepardess Angel of Orphans into the care of the single, decent man of power in Edom.
Confounded by the props, by Orpheus and his lyric leaps, by the musicians, listeners to their various performances did not ever seem to notice that her first note was always the same—whether a pirate accosting Julius Caesar and sealing his own doom, or the carpenter nailing Christ to the Cross—not an ear, tricked as they were by Orpheus’ command of their eyes, noted that her every dirge began the same. Each and every song of Doris must begin with that same note, the song that ushered her into this cruel world ruled by savage Edom.
Orpheus had come into the world first, silent until he was slapped by the hard, slave physician, his pale shoulder home to a crude raised brand. Then he cried.
There she lie, within the severed womb of a mother twice doomed.
She remembered, recalled all. Her mind from the early calculated that speaking causes forget, that animals never forget, even across generations, because they decline to speak and jabber jaw like amnesiac mankind.
The cold man, so cold he knew no cruelty, only function according to his purpose, his master having been paid to so save the two jammed up babes, gazed in upon her.
From her mother’s bloody welter she was taken and held up, her cord cut, her bottom slapped. As she was turned face down and met the eyes of her dying mother, the vessel that had in long suffering brought them into the realm of suffering, they saw each other in eyes, knew each other to be but sparks of a soft fire soon to die.
The brute physician thought Doris dead, though her dying mother in her eyes saw a long life ahead.
The slap echoed, and did not sting—mere flesh under hand as it was.
She smiled, smiled down at Mother, and in joy that eviscerated woman passed from care with a moan that echoed something of Eternity. The cruel madam of the theater where their mother had been impregnated, who had not bothered paying the physician to attempt to save the worn out dancer—once a featured attraction, now but a vessel for new and unspoiled property—looked into the eyes of Doris, yet to cry on the third slap.
Baby Doris turned her head as Orpheus her twin sobbed behind her in the nurse’s caring clutches. Into the eyes of the leather skinned matron that fresh baby looked, looked searchingly, for a heart that might be there, and found it, flickering wan behind a dark bier of night. The woman’s voice froze in her throat as she was to give the command to stop spanking that pale bottom. The fourth slap came, and the death moan, the release into Eternity that had let go from the throat of her dying mother, issued like wind song from the tiny mouth of Doris.
Doris smiled on her song coach, her left hand extended over the purple arm, her right hand cupping her coif of flaxen hair. Only the nearest of the darling “sketchies” the curious Japanese speed artists whom Doris loved having about, noted this wry grin. But only Doris knew the forever unspoken memory that had filled the theater matron with such horror, those wide baby eyes that spake behind that Angelic groan, “Let me go, Bitch. Sell us to a good Master and you might sleep again.”
The grin gave a note of judgment to Adam when he accused with a pointing finger and a fiddle of Irish strings, to Eve, that she had beguiled him who so ever after would fall…
She saw through one languid lid, forever in repose that had been surmised as the chemistry of Morpheus [2] that such Oriental medicine that had been credited with the dreamy quality of her form, was now being drunk in a great cup of wine by the only Master to whom she could ever be kind.
Her song sung like wind across the chamber, stunning the musicians to silence, awing the patricians in attendance who took it for the wailing of the Cheribum at the green-gabled gate of Eden. [3]
Her undertone and cadence, barely discernable to the cultured creatures gathered witlessly about like flowers shading the actors thinking they understood the sun, was felt deeply by Orpheus. Her twin shivered, then shook, balked, then leapt to the feet of their Good Master, Increase Publico. That man, as good as a man could be while Great, was quaffing eagerly of a silvery rhyton, a vessel normally reserved for serving; drinking his death. In the same quaff they new, the two, they of a closest kin as well as weird ken, that they were doomed to branding at the least, rape for certain, torture probably and possibly the unthinkable—separation.
Orpheus framed his Master’s final draught between his long sprite like hands as Doris sang the spear-slain song of Hoar Yore. The orchestra, barely able to keep up, did well enough that the audience was convinced that the performance was a piece of scripted genius. The speed sketchers of Kyoto caught the sense of a great act, that the patricians in attendance would all swear was their Host’s scripted fall from his social place even as Adam fell from his edanic place...and that he did so with serene grace.
The crescendo of the tragedy, as Publico fell off to nether reaches beyond worldly worries, was somewhat marred by Gentile Publico’s bemused response, “Fawkin’ Hell, Unx—just like that, no by your fuckin’ leave Caesar here be my upsman? [4] Unx, Unx, don’t be a knob, Unx!”
Ears of weird kind sensed the truth of it, the both of the Synchronus Twins. For the depravity of Gentile Publico was well known to be eclipsed only by his greed. Thus, an orderly disposal of the estate, less the turmoil of the Third Man of New York [5], slipping away into oblivion by his own hand during a performance of the Fall of Man, was understood by both twins, to be the last act of kindness their Master could bestow upon them…
As Increase lolled on his divan, his nephew tugging at his sleeve from his chair, cursing like a mobster, the musicians sawed a funerary dirge at the urging of Doris who sang the departure winds of God.
The patricians drooled in stunned silence. The guards came to their master, abandoning the doors. Orpheus tenderly damped each lantern upon the round in a dimness of soul conduction. She could see her brother’s flesh bead with sweat and his face grow sallow with fright. So she nodded to the curtain behind which God was suppose to have vanished in this retelling. Like so they too abandoned their wards, slipping off through the south door as the patricians rose in a worried state at the attention of the guards to their drooling Master.
-1. The ancient Hebrew term for Rome.
-2. Opium
-3. Lesser angels
-4. Upsman is New York slang for a nepotistic replacement named by a retiring official upon his official resignation.
-5. The First Man was the Consul and the Second The Tribune.
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